A fast start for the NSW Swifts sets up the club’s thrilling one-goal victory over cross-town rivals GIANTS Netball at Nissan Arena, Brisbane.
The Swifts led at the first quarter break 20-12, and coach Briony Akle said that set the foundation for her side’s victory.
“We had a great start and the GIANTS came back at us in the third and fourth – just happy to get the win to be honest,” she said.
“I think experience and playing in the moment and reading what’s out there [is crucial in finals] – we had a good start but GIANTS have got some players who play the clock well, know the big moments.
“We were up a lot and we need to work on pushing forward.”
GIANTS coach Julie Fitzgerald admitted her side was overawed by the occasion.
“Obviously bitterly disappointed to go down by one goal and give up the spot in the grans final but we’re still alive and grateful to have the second chance,” she told media after the game.
“We’ve got four players who have never played finals and today’s game will be a great benefit to them.
“There was inexperience in our start, and we were a bit overawed… but to be eight goals down and fight back the way we did, you need to give them credit for that and be proud of the effort.”
A thrilling final two minutes of the game saw GIANTS goal attack Sophie Dwyer a chance at a Super Shot but NSW Swifts were able to rebound the miss.
GIANT keeper Tilly McDonnell and Swift Maddy Proud came together in the final few minutes of the match. McDonnell remained on the court while Proud left the game.
Despite a flurry of Super Shots throughout the game, Swifts held on to claim the win after an intercept from Stalwart Sarah Klau.
After the half-time break, GIANTS continued to come back at Swifts with a crucial intercept from April Brandley allowed the team in orange to march into the match.
Down by six at the halftime break, the tip from defender April Brandley was converted through some patient play from the GIANTS, before a centre-pass conversion from them.
An intercept from Wing Attack Maddie Hay, who was targeted by Swifts coach Briony Akle, put GIANTS back on attack and within two goals.
GIANTS continued to linger and remain in the game.
Enter Super Shot period.
Swift shooter Sam Wallace, and player of the game, was able to start the period off with a two before GIANTS captain Jo Harten returned serve. A single goal from Swifts saw the ball back into the super shot zone with Dwyer.
She converted from near-the-top of circle, giving the ball back to Swifts. Wallace took another goal.
Harten sunk yet another super shot for GIANTS – then like a Hollywood script Wallace scored another.
Suddenly momentum was broken by a goal from Harten, a Swifts turnover and ANOTHER Super Shot from Dwyer.
Suddenly, GIANTS lead by a goal before turning the ball over. Another single goal from Wallace soaked some crucial seconds from the clock before a missed super shot opened up Swifts GA to nab another single goal.
Somehow, at the final break NSW Swifts led 49-48 setting up a thrilling final quarter.
Second quarter saw Swifts start strong.
A lot of strong entries into both Helen Housby and Wallace complimented the efforts of keeper Klau and standout ‘tagger’ Tayla Fraser in Wing Defence.
As the Super Shot period approached, Swifts had built up a commendable lead of six goals.
GIANTS missed a few super shots, handing ball back to Swifts, before Dwyer opened the game with a long-range effort – and GIANTS centre pass.
The final shot of the quarter was missed as Swifts took a 34-28 half-time lead.
The first quarter was a good old-fashioned pressure test for both sides.
All players on court were stepping up, arms over, as the shooters largely went goal for goal.
Upon the Super Shot Period, the Swifts forged ahead with two super shots to Wallace and one to Housby.
GIANTS were unable to convert its only attempt through Harten, instead chipping away with single goals.
Categories: Suncorp Super Netball